Nicolai Ion 16 Review

Oct 7, 2013
by Matt Wragg  

REVIEW
Nicolai Ion 16

WORDS Matt Wragg
PHOTOS Alex Boyce

Nicolai hold an unusual place in the world of mountain biking, they are in equal parts adored and ridiculed. There seems to be little middle ground for them in people's opinions. To some they are German engineering at its best, aluminium lovingly sculpted into trail-worshiping perfection. To others they are the kooks who over-engineer everything and gleefully lash the weirdest technology onto their bikes. Over the years they have certainly tried pretty much every gearbox and drivetrain system we can think of - from their own Gboxx gearbox project, to carbon belt drives, Truvativ Hammerschmitt geared cranks and, most recently, the Pinion gearbox. The aesthetics are also a love or hate affair. When we posted a photo of this Ion 16 test bike on Instagram, one prominent mountain bike journalist suggested the most fun we could have with it would be using it as a ladder.

If truth be told, I fell into the second category in the past too. I thought they were fashion bikes bought by fat, older riders for car park points simply because they were a bit different. But that's the problem with prejudices, the word originally stems from latin, literally it means to pre-judge. Drawing your conclusions before you fully appreciate something invariably leads to you being dead wrong...


Details:

• Purpose: All-mountain/Enduro/DH
• Handmade in Germany
• 160mm rear travel with Rock Shox Monarch Plus shock
• 65/66 degree headangle
• 426mm chainstays
• Sizes: Small, medium, large (tested), X-large and XX-large (on special order)
• Weight: 7.08lbs/3.2 kg (Size M, black anodize, w/o shock)
• MSRP: €2,199

The Frame


All Nicolais are hand built in their tiny farmhouse headquarters in Northern Germany. Craftsmanship is spliced with well-thought-out design over the entire length of the bike. At the front is a sturdy tapered head tube, big enough to accommodate a zero-stack headset. Behind is the external bracing, something which is gone from most of the major bike manufacturers bikes today. With hydroforming, manufacturers can make the tubing bigger where it needs to be to provide additional strength, removing the need for external reinforcement. Yet Nicolai take a simpler path - their tubes are smaller and keep the same diameter throughout their entire length, but need this kind of support at critical points. While external bracing may sound somewhat agricultural, when you look closely, the execution is elegant, with excess material machined away to reduce weight and, at the seatpost braces, the word Ion is machined into the plates.

 i gt Clockwise from the top right i gt The beautiful detailing on the headtube look how elegantly the metal has been removed from the bracing to save weight The upper shock mount This photo may be too small to do the detailing on the main link justice but the patterning inside is fantastic Machining Ion in the seattube brace adds time and complication to the production there are dozens of simpler ways of putting the model name on a frame but this is how Nicolai do things. And we like it.
  (Clockwise from the top left) The beautiful detailing on the head tube, look how elegantly the metal has been removed from the bracing to save weight; The upper shock mount; This photo may be too small to do the detailing on the main link justice, but the patterning inside is fantastic; Machining 'Ion' in the seat tube brace adds time and complication to the production, there are dozens of simpler ways of putting the model name on a frame, but this is how Nicolai do things, and we like it.

A similar situation is found in the shock mount and the point where the linkage is mounted to the mainframe, they are welded onto the downtube, but with any excess material carefully removed. Cabling is taken along the top of the downtube, kept in place by anodized carriers. One detail that shows this bikes was designed to survive in muddy conditions is the fact that the split in the seattube for the clamp is at the front, which means it stays out of the mud that sprays up the back of the bike. At the base of the shock is a chip that switches the bike from low to high settings. In the low setting the headangle goes from 66 to 65 degrees and the bottom bracket drops 9mm further.

Around the bottom bracket is an ISCG05 mount and it uses a standard, screw-in bottom bracket. Reaching the rear triangle the tubing changes from round tubes to a big, bulky, square profile and it is here that the Ion 16's genealogy from the Ion 20 downhill bike really shows through. At the back of the bike, the rear axle is simultaneously pared back to the bare minimum metal, but hugely strong with a giant, DH-style axle holding the rear wheel in place. Nicolai say that if you order one of these you can choose between that axle system and a more user-friendly Maxle option. As a signal of the bike's intentions, the rear disc mount is a post mount type, dedicated to 180mm rotors - you can't run little rotors to save a few grams here. Finally, on the drive side, is a sturdy plastic protector, held on by Allen-key bolts at either end.

 i gt Clockwise from the top right i gt The internal dropper seatpost routing In the lower shock mount anodised carriers are inserted to help keep the cables in order it is touches like this that mark the Nicolai out as a piece of craftsmanship It s hard to tell from this perspective but the dropout is machined back to leave as little metal as is possible while still being burly as hell At the base of the shock is the geometry-adjust chip.
  (Clockwise from the top left) The internal dropper seatpost routing; In the lower shock mount anodized carriers are inserted to help keep the cables in order, it is touches like this that mark the Nicolai out as a piece of craftsmanship; It is hard to tell from this perspective, but the dropout is machined back to leave as little metal as is possible, while still being burly as hell; At the base of the shock is the geometry-adjust chip.

Suspension

To actuate the shock is a single, large CNC'd piece with exquisite detailing on the faces. It houses the huge, quadruple-sealed bearings that keep the rear end moving. Nicolai claim to have tested this bike in the gritty, Scottish mud and reliability and durability were definitely at the forefront of their minds when they designed this bike. The shock mounting system is worth a mention, as it is one of the most user-friendly systems we have seen in a long time. You can easily remove the shock with two Allen keys and a single pair of human hands. Pivoting behind the bottom bracket, the chainstays then pivot again, three inches in front of the rear axle in a conventional four-bar linkage.

The Spec

 i gt Clockwise from the top right i gt The Rock Shox Reverb remote this is a small detail but one that lets you know that whoever specced this bike knew what they were doing The big soft rubber signals this bikes intentions XX1 is always welcome on the drivetrain and is especially useful on a DH-oriented bike like this as that extra gear makes the climbing more manageable.
  (Clockwise from the top left) The Rock Shox Reverb remote: this is a small detail, but one that lets you know that whoever spec'd this bike knew what they were doing; The big, soft rubber signals this bikes intentions; XX1 is always welcome on the drivetrain and is especially useful on a DH-oriented bike like this, as that extra gear makes the climbing more manageable.

We won't dwell long on the spec because first and foremost, Nicolai are a framebuilder, so they let you spec the bike as you want. Our test bike came with a full SRAM setup, XX1 on the drivetrain, Avid XO trail brakes to stop the bike, a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post to hold the saddle in place, a RockShox Monarch Plus shock to control the rear end and a nice, beefy RockShox Lyrik RC2 fork out front. Wheels were Hope Pro II Evos, laced to Stan's Flow EX rims and shod with 2.5/2/4 Maxxis Minion tyres with the Exo Protect casing. One little detail we liked is that the bike came with the Reverb remote mounted on the left, underneath the bar to keep it out of the way when you eat dirt.




Riding the
Ion 16



After to talking to Nicolai, we opted for a large frame and a 35mm stem for a 5'9" test rider, for the entire test we also kept the bike's adjustable chip in the lower setting. We mention this now, as it heavily influenced our time riding the Ion. The idea was to move the front-centre forwards, putting more weight over the front wheel to give more traction. One unexpected advantage of this was pedaling position - the extra length really opened up our chest, making breathing easier. However, this does, in our opinion, sacrifice some of the all-round usability of a bike, especially mated to the 65 degree head angle. The bike felt like it needed high speeds to come alive when we started descending. This isn't a complaint, we asked for the bike like this, but a shorter top tube and flicking the bike into the higher setting would make it a more usable bike, more of the time.

Climbing: As it was set, the Ion climbed adequately on fireroads, which is typically where you end up ascending in the big mountain terrain where this bike is at home. The four-bar linkage is very active and downhill-oriented, so the lack of a pedal platform on the Monarch Plus shock was noticeable in its absence. Nicolai had hoped to send us the bike with a Cane Creek Double Barrel shock and we would be interested to see how the bike climbs with the DB 'Climb Switch' feature, as we'd be willing to bet it would open the bike up to improved general all-mountain duties.

  The Ion 16 got by on the climbs, but we got the feeling it was always waiting for the descents

On technical singletrack the combination of the slack head angle and long top tube meant the front end had a tendency to wander away from us when we sat back in the saddle for steep sections. When we stood up, the active suspension meant lost power. It by no means struggled at climbing, and the bike's surprising light weight definitely helped, but there are plenty of bikes in the 160mm travel bracket that will out-climb the Ion 16.

Downhill: When we got to the descents is where this bike came into its own. We're not entirely sure what to compare it to, because it seems almost unfair to compare it to virtually any other 160mm bike we can think of. The way the rear end works put us in mind of a full-blown DH bike, and the long top tube and 65-degree head angle only helped to reinforce this impression. It is stiff too, while the bolt-through rear axle option our test bike came with is likely to prove a nightmare for enduro racers who want quick tyre changes and emergency trailside repairs, it certainly sures things up at the back. The active four-bar linkage lets you decide how you want to ride the bike. If you're happy to remain neutra,l it stays composed and easy to manage, but if you decide to, you can push the bike to build speed by working the terrain.

  No matter what we threw at the Ion 16 on the downs, it didn't flinch.

The short, 426mm chainstays let you flick the back end to wherever you need it. Four-bar linkages like this one, are well-proven to be one of the best performing systems out there during hard braking, and this bike is no exception. It remains active all the time. With the weight shifted towards front-centre (the build that we went for) you will need to adapt to the bike. Don't expect to jump on and get the most out of the bike straight away. However, once you get a feel for it, it makes an already competent descending bike even better. Putting the Ion 16 through its paces, we rode in the alpine terrain of Sospel and Sauze D'Oulx where it felt at home - but with our setup, it would simply be too much bike for many places. Yes, as we said previously, a shorter top tube and running the chip at the higher setting would help make it more of a trailbike, but the way the suspension feels means it is always going to be a bike that is more focused on smashing descents than conquering the whole mountain. If you don't have a large mountain to play with, then finding the speed to get this bike to really shine is going to be tough.

Pinkbikes Take:
I couldn't have been more wrong about Nicolai bikes if I tried. Life is full of practicalities. Practical kitchen appliances, practical cars, practical shoes for work...this isn't a practical bike. Craftsmanship like this comes at a price, the frameset is several hundred Euros more expensive than the equivalent Yeti SB66 or Santa Cruz Nomad. In the cross-country/trail sense, the Ion 16 isn't a great all-mountain bike.There are more efficient bikes for that purpose. If you don't live in the mountains you will probably struggle to find the terrain you need to enjoy this bike. It isn't even an ideal enduro race bike, as those bikes head towards being 11kg carbon thoroughbreds. This Nicolai just doesn't fit the mold, and you know what? I don't care about any of those things. The simple fact is that every time I got this bike up to speed, it put a huge grin on my face. I'll worry about the rest of my life being practical. I want my mountain bikes to be fun. - Matt Wragg



www.nicolai.net


135 Comments

  • 142 1
 How can you discard them as fashion bikes? No marketing, no flashy graphics, not a different suspension system every year, no big ads in the magazines. What they do offer is great customer service, almost ridiculous attention to detail and a quirky sense of humour which to me places them on the other end of the spectrum, together with companies like K9 or Canfield.
  • 35 0
 Completely agree. These bikes are for those who want to step outside of the world of the latest fashion of bike. They are one of the few products out there that do not make you feel compelled to buy a new bike every two years.
  • 19 0
 gorgeous.
  • 9 0
 Yea, loving the look of this Nice fresh color scheme too
  • 8 1
 Indeed. Nicolai actually offers a refurbishing service - new paint job and bearings - for quite a reasonable price. The only other company I know of that does this is Curtis.
  • 6 0
 I think orange does that to.
  • 8 22
flag bikerboywill (Oct 7, 2013 at 10:20) (Below Threshold)
 over 7lbs without a shock? and its near enough £2000 for the base model? Was looking good untill these figures. For two grand your into super light carbon territory. Ill take a banshee rune and save near enough £1000 once you include the shock.
  • 7 2
 They make lighter, cheaper frames. And, you will not get the same level of mfg detail for less.
  • 9 13
flag bikerboywill (Oct 7, 2013 at 10:42) (Below Threshold)
 I never said you wouldn't, i personally love these frames but in the real world, is some fancy welds and gussets worth £1000? Only the individual can decide
  • 13 0
 Well, Nicolai are known to produce expensive frames and every time you see their product you can understand why. This bike seems to be the best ambassador of what Nicolai bikes are. Yes, you can get a carbon frame for those money, but guess what, not everyone is on a chase for carbon frames. Some of us are just wanting for a perfectly assembled, bomb proved alu frame, 26" of wheels and the most of fun, a human can get on his bike. You can easily see that this bike is build just for that. I'm not saying that I accept the big price of this bike and any bike today. This bike costs a lot. But it offers a lot as well, and you cannot say that for every bike on the market.
  • 43 0
 It's funny that the reviewer admitted that in the past he dismissed Nicolai as fashion bikes, then continued ironically to ride the bike in jeans and a t-shirt with his gloves in his back pocket.

Form over function? Function over form?
  • 1 0
 @ idi-amin
xprezo does that too
  • 4 0
 @mrbrett. I Agree, how could he made mockery of it when the way he set himself on the bikes contradicts his statement. Pictures don't lie, I guessed on this case
  • 1 1
 Incidentally - Banshee quote 8.5lbs for the medium rune with CCDBA.
  • 3 0
 And don't forget you can choose a colour of your liking and that's included in the price of the frame. Except for ano that comes with an up charge. These bike will last you a lifetime, just they cost a pretty penny but if you want something hard enough... Once had the pleasure of seeing one in person, they are kinda rare where I live, but boy did it make an impression. And BTW Banshee needs to edit their webpage, since it says their bikes are made in Canada which we all no is not the case. Oh and a Yeti YB66 alloy version goes for around €2399 with shock, a Nicolai ION16 with shock with some nice ano parts and choice of paint is €2599. So no it's not really more expensive.
  • 34 2
 "prejudices, the word originally stems from latin, literally it means to pre-judge."

NO. f*ckING. WAY.
  • 5 0
 ^^ Ha!
  • 20 1
 The only way to show nicolai's artwork is through ultra high-res pics. Every single thing from their lineup is as perverted as porn can get. Smile

Saying that, Helius AM is by far the most amazing bike nicolai ever made, and one I'd wish to own more than any other bike.
  • 3 0
 Yes, yes it is, the Helius. Especially after 2010, after they adjusted the geometry. Very happy with mine, will ride it for a while.
  • 3 0
 Yes, you could build it into anything. From a extra burly trail bike, to a 180mm freeride beast. A true ONE bike.
  • 4 0
 I'm also glad to be an owner of one the last Helius AM's they produced. It truly is a do-it-all bike and i hope mine will last a long time.
If you want to spend the money on a Nicolai, get it anodized!
The powdercoating may be cheaper but you cover those awesome welds and milling details that you paid for Wink
Feel free to check my album if you wanna see how it looks (y)
  • 2 0
 I agree with you F0erster, anodised is the way to go. It would be a shame to throw paint over those weldings!! Also have an AM! This summer i took it to Portes du Soleil and zero problems.
  • 3 1
 I had a mongoose Team DH made by nicolai back in the late 90s with the Nicolai thru-shaft shock. The best 5 inch travel bike I have ever ridden, It could still keep up today!
  • 17 0
 Of note, they do not hydroform or bend the tubes because they are using 7 series Alu, which doesn't take to bending or forming well, but is stronger than the 6 series most companies use. Not all 7 series are weldable, but the 7020 and 7050 (I think, off the top of my head) are, and weld very well with greater strength post heat treat, to say, 6061 that has be hydroformed. This is why they are always straight tube'd with gussets. Having owned several, they are by and far the best made alu bike frames on the planet. I may be influenced, but I know a good bike when I see one.
  • 5 1
 7005 is, 7050 isn't.
  • 5 0
 That's it. 7005 and 7020.
  • 2 2
 Some use 7075 as well!
  • 5 3
 7075 cannot be welded in any conventional manner and have any sort of structural strength to the joint. Most 7000 series alloys are in the same boat, the zinc content is too high and the welds will crack. I wouldn't even trust a 7075 weld to use it for the joint of a lawn chair.
  • 3 4
 Sorry sir, but many frames use 7075 links and pivots.
  • 8 2
 Yes but they are extruded or machined from billet. They are never welded to anything.
  • 3 1
 Deeeight is correct. There's only a few 7 series that are weldable. All requiring heat treatment post weld to return back to it's correct temper, and to alleviate stressed heat affected zones. There's 7005, 7020, and some proprietary blends as well. Not to say you *can't* weld others, as some have the ability but require very stringent and specific weld procedures. The benefit of using a weldable 7 series is a stronger material than 6 series aluminum, at the cost of higher material cost and no ability to form the tubes without causing other issues. Nicolai has been doing it this way since day one, and didn't fall into the whole 'swooping downtube' fashion trap, and to this day are unrivaled with their fabrication of aluminum bike frames. I have put several through the ringer, and every one I've seen stands the test of time, so long as the owner greases the bearings every season.
  • 3 1
 I love when people pretend to know what they are talking about. atrokz is on point, even on the downtube design. this frame is dialed in every way, perfect.
  • 13 0
 I was always a fan of nicolai's quality and design approach. In the past where gravity sports were slowly gaining attention from the market, their frames were something that stood a few steps ahead.
  • 10 0
 "...we opted for a large frame and a 35mm stem ... The idea was to move the front-centre forwards, putting more weight over the front wheel to give more traction."

Huh? Moving the front wheel out puts less weight on it. Maybe you meant something a little different?
  • 4 1
 Yeah, not sure what they were trying to achieve - the front wheel is lifting on climbs because a long TT and short stem put the rider weight further back, not further forward.
  • 3 0
 This didn't make sense to me either, in fact it seems backwards. Maybe the author means he moved the front-center of the bike forward relative to the rider, but that doesn't increase front wheel traction...
  • 6 0
 shoulda just went with "we pulled an Aaron Gwin"
  • 1 0
 What is the stem, its nice
  • 7 0
 I have a 2004 Nicolai M-Pire. Yes it is almost ten years old and weighs a ton, but it is simply put a beautiful machine. I cannot think of one bike from that era that can still stand out as something special against today´s offerings due to it´s adjustable (and forward thinking for the time) geometry solid ride and gorgeous craftmanship. To me it is more than a bike. It is also a work of art. In a world where even the most top line bikes loose their appeal and sheen after as little three years, these bikes lead the way for sustainability in mountainbiking. Literally a bike for life and one you will probably love more and more as each year goes by. They are a class in their own.
  • 6 0
 Pretty happy with my Helius AM - very similar to Ion. It ain't a lightweight though. More like a tank.

Not sure why you complain about the rear axle - it is stupid easy to unbolt. Maybe a few seconds longer than Maxle, but it is solid.

And, yes, CCDBA is what should be on it.

And it is not more expensive than Yeti SB66. The price you quoted includes 18% VAT, and you do not pay it if shipping to US. Even with a good shock, it is not that expensive.
  • 6 0
 As mentioned above I also believe Matt got the sizing wrong, I'm 6.2 and find the climbing capabilites of the Ion 16 excellent for a enduro race oriented bike. Coming Jan/Feb it'll also be available in 650B for those looking for the "bigger" wheelsize...

Unfortunately the powder coat and color of the tested bike do the detailing and craftsmanship no justice whatsoever...

If you wanna see the true art that goes in to a Nicolai:
fotos.mtb-news.de/s/59011
  • 5 0
 I am confused, enduro is largely downhill racing in a longer distance format...so this would be a perfect bike and the latest, lightest, carbon wonder-turd would be far from it. The enduro races around here require at least a DH casing tire in the rear if you hope to finish a stage on inflated tires. Gimme durability, travel, and a bike that descends like possessed madman.
  • 3 0
 After having the first Nicolai my wish was for a second Nicolai. Now I am a happy owner of an Helius AM and an Ion 20. Anodised of course, I don't want to hide those weldings, a good job needs to be shown :-)
For the untrained eye this is just some tubes welded together. Watch closely and you will not find on the market frames with so much attention for detail.
As for the price...well, you get what you pay, at least here. There are brands with products so overpriced for what they offer ....
  • 9 2
 The Germans make good shit.
  • 3 0
 I'm a (very happy) owner of an Ion 16 - great bike. I'm 6'1" on a L with a 50mm stem, and I've been really pleased with how it climbs - you do need the platform on the shock though, otherwise it's very active, but I've cleaned climbs on it that I could never managed on my previous bike, and I run it in the low setting all the time. Think the larger size and 35mm stem probably didn't suit your tester in that respect. Have the same experiecne going down though, really plush, solid, quiet, gives loads of confidence, and you hit the nail on the head with "fun". I thought long and hard about a host of different carbon bikes, don't regret going for this one bit.
  • 3 0
 Im on my second Nic - having previously had a Helius Fr, im now on an AC - and they are pretty smart bikes. The AC was the perfect weapon for the mega this year. And for all the powder coater haters out there - my latest is raw, nicolai even provide you with a bit of brillo pad to rough up any scratches! For the price the options are endless, anodizing, powder coating, custom geometry, cable guides etc. For sure i'll have a third of the ion variety at some time!

www.pinkbike.com/photo/9680882
  • 3 0
 Material, welding,details. Definitely two notches above fareast bikes. Nicolai made some gory bikes in the past, this one is definitely a step in the right direction, purposeful, almost elegant. Suspension looks good.

Good to see that the higher end is splitting up:

Throwaway carbon frames for SC-,Specdrones made in Sweatshops and straight tube or big volume hydroformed frames locally made.

Fair price for value, no middleman. Way to go.
  • 3 1
 That's a really peace of bike. I always liked Nicolai's bikes and philosophy. Good to see a 26" bike in those crazy business-man-friendly-customers-haters days.
The geometry look very very inspiring: slack, low, long, short rear end.

Good job Carl Wink
  • 2 0
 I've owned 3 Nicolai bikes: Nucleon ST, UFO DS, and my current rig, Ion 18. Every bike was an absolute blast to ride and the craftsmanship was second to none. The Ion 18 is my only bike…it's been amazing for everything except climbs (which is still does better than others). Even after owning countless other bikes, the Nicolai frame always just "feels right".
  • 2 0
 Simple and super sexy, thats a bike! I have to say you still can see some their 10 years old bikes still in very good condition. Hand made, well made, german quality. The seat tube could be shorter for me, but I believe we could live together
  • 5 0
 This actually looks so sick, I love the straight tubing and external ribbing it looks badass
  • 2 0
 Matt, this is the best bike review I've seen in long, long time. I don't say often good thinks for the PB crew lately, but for this review and the Commencal one you did earlier, you really, really got me. To sit and enjoy reading about mountain biking is everything I can ask a bike media for.
  • 4 2
 Somebody should proofread these articles. I wan't to believe these are coming from legit journalists/professionals, but it ruins that image when I encounter typos and words used incorrectly Frown Good content! Just needs a bit of polish.
  • 6 2
 I want to believe they are coming from genuine enthusiasts. Typos and grammer errors don't bother me at all
  • 1 0
 I'm with mega turtle, but with all the setting up of negative thought with negative comments at the start. It seemed more constructed jernalisim than straight up genuine test. I don't give a f### about peoples personal dribble opinions, just stick to the facts, and if you're going to slam a bike for something, try it in the setting built for that(climbing/steeper head), and don't slap a 35mm stem on a bike like this. Only 5% of people even run that short on a DH bike. Unfair biased test based on brain washed big brand marketing IMO. Can't wait to get a Nicolai. Oh and they do do the Helius if you want more XC style.
  • 3 0
 A friend of mine has one and he is super happy with. We were there to help him while assembling the bike and caught all on "tape"...
bikebook.si/2013/08/sestavljanje-kolesa-nikolai-ion-16
  • 2 0
 Can't find something to compare it to? Orange Alpine 160 comes to mind. Wasn't very good as a trail bike, but for a hardcore mini DH rig that can be climbed out to raw descents it's perfect. They make great park bikes for everything but full-blown nasty tech, but even then they can usually manage just fine and end up being way more fun on the jump lines. This thing looks rippin, I'd love to own a Nicolai some day.
  • 4 3
 Great review, thank you very much!
I'm saving for the ION 16 frame so the test's timing for me was perfect =), at 172cm I'm likely buying the M-size frame with 50mm stem (or 35mm if the top tube feels too long). Still a bit uncertain about the frame sizing though, for S-size would be closer my previous bike geometry, but I'm interested to see what the longer top tube would bring along, so seeing this review cleared some thoughts for me.
  • 2 0
 M for 172cm will be perfect!
  • 2 0
 My length is 171 cm and have a helius am in size small and a helius af in size m. For technical riding i prefer the smaller size, even for a s the toptube is relatively long
  • 8 2
 171cm LENGTH!! someones Mrs is getting spoiled
  • 2 0
 Made me chuckle for a while dude......
  • 1 2
 Mmm, but based on the review, it's overkill for super flat Finland right? Loads of XC style super tech and short climbs, and not real decents? Finns do seem to have a strong liking for Nicolai that I don't fully understand..
  • 4 0
 Nice to see PB incorporate some user suggestions in this review. Thanks guys!
  • 1 0
 I think half the reason why it looks so incredible is that every tube doesn't have some insane bend in it. Hopefully in a couple years insane bendy tubes will become unpopular again and will be remembered as some god awful silly idea, like the AMC Gremlin or 1970s fashion.
  • 1 0
 Kind of reminescent of a Rampant, with nicer gussets and fab work, as well as a proper bearings (i now hate bushing in sus applications). Anyone understand what they mean when they say Quad seal? im guessing its rubber seals they've added on top of standard 2RS or LLU series bearings?
  • 1 0
 Plastic washer?
  • 1 0
 Yeah i figure its something like a raceface or saint BB with the "quadruple seals". Never seen a bearing with quadruple seals is why i asked
  • 1 0
 I'm a proud owner of one ion 16, and i f*ckin love the bike. it climbs "well" Smile and descends like no other in the class. there are a ton of bikes to choose from, and i try
several, Mondraker dune carbon rr, Santa Cruz bikes and i prefer the ion...... it may not be so pretty like the others, but i don't give a f*ck.....
  • 5 4
 They aren't downhill bikes, enduro bikes, or dirt jumpers, and they aren't good for climbing? They must be crappy all mountain bikes!!

... erm, actually, I think we used to call that a freeride bike by the way.
  • 2 0
 and Richard Cunningham would call it a "black diamond bike."
  • 3 0
 Looks soooo oldschool with all that colors and stuff. But that is how the real bike shold looks like!
  • 3 0
 totaly agree dude.
  • 3 0
 Used to own a Helius AM, definitely the bike I miss the most, another level in stiffness
  • 2 0
 Gone for my first ride on my brand new ion18 and allthough its not the same bike as the 16, these bikes are really something special, If you get the chane try one!
  • 5 0
 26" beauty !
  • 2 0
 I have been saving for one for a while. Nicolai will be my next bike, it will last forever. And anyone who calls these guys kooks is a kook. I also love there look SIMPLE
  • 4 0
 love the straight lines design of these germans like Nicolai and Last
  • 3 0
 This bike looks serious standing still . It seems like a bike you buy and ride, and ride, and ride. Good job Nicolai!
  • 4 0
 Is it possible to get this in the U.S?
  • 2 0
 the fsr pattent was expired right?
  • 3 0
 LOL, Kalle Nicolai was the guy who "invented" the four-bar linkage while at Horst Leitners AMP Research back in the early 90's...
  • 1 0
 true, but in north america specialized and norco had the patent for the linkage and called it FSR, thats why you dont see canyon, nicolai and many other euro brands being sold over there
  • 2 0
 the patent wasn't the problem, Speci wasn't worried about a handful of N bikes being sold in USA. there just never was a distributor willing to do the job in accordance with how N thought their bikes should be represented, N is not in it for the money, they just love building bikes... strange but true... if you ever get the chance, visit them, it's like visiting friends who build bikes for the fun of it!

ps: Norco didn't have the patent, they paid specialized for liscensing...
  • 1 0
 Yes, just give them a call. I got mine from their rep in US. No VAT, no taxes..
  • 4 0
 Straight tubes look sweet! I like
  • 3 0
 I could spend as much time admiring the details on this frame as I could riding it. Euro Bling.
  • 1 0
 it is great bike! i was trying one in Riva Del Garda, great quality at the moment I riding tracer2 (also great machine) if i had a money i would have this two bikes, made of aloy of course :-)
  • 3 0
 their frames are just so nice to ride. thoroughbreds Wink
  • 3 0
 I don't know what he is talking about! This is a sexy bike!
  • 2 0
 After throwing your leg over a nicolai and you'll find it's difficult to go back to other bikes.
  • 1 1
 Ok guys next time you post something like this warn me please? Now I gotta change my pants. That thing truly is what I'm saving up for. Not cheap but then again what is these days.
  • 1 0
 Nice looking bike. Seems far more sensible than some of their old downhill bikes from the early 2000's with they crazy linkages...
  • 2 0
 I never thought I'd see the day Matt Wink
  • 2 0
 I love Nicolais but i can´t afford one Big Grin
  • 2 0
 So... how do they make the bike stand upright?
  • 2 0
 ultralight saddle and grips.
  • 1 0
 Hahahah right...
  • 1 0
 Hold it steady, then run away! Razz

Probably a photoshopped out stick in there.
  • 1 0
 That's what I thought yeah.
  • 2 0
 At least it doesn't look like the inside of a watch. Nice and simple.
  • 2 0
 the perfect ontario dh bike
  • 1 0
 There was a 16.815 at interbike, think i'll wait for that Wink
  • 3 2
 pllleease review the yt wicked 650b!
  • 8 0
 no more 650's!
  • 4 0
 Nah, just don't..I've ordered mine already and waiting for it. IF it turns out to be a bummer I would rather live with in my own bubble and think I scored a good deal.
  • 2 1
 I like how the rider is wearing jeans. Reminds me of myself!
  • 1 0
 Actually was a nice change over the regular pajama pants
  • 1 1
 Bitch'n Bike?

Whats with the problem climber; In this day-n-age! Not acceptable. Strange!
  • 1 0
 Shame that my '09 Helius AM seemed to last forever...
  • 2 1
 too big
  • 1 0
 maybe you´re too short Big Grin
  • 1 1
 ddww
  • 1 2
 pffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff shit
  • 1 4
 Looks kinda like a Transition Covert
  • 1 3
 very simple
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